By Teresa Matetich
“Let the children come to me . . . for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.
St. Joseph Catholic Community has been blessed to have many faith-filled people spend an hour each week in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Our Eucharistic chapel is open 24/7 (unless Mass is taking place). What a beautiful response our parish has given to this wonderful ministry!
Adoration is a wonderful opportunity for families to teach their children the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and prayer. What we learn as children remains in us and helps us to stay close to Jesus. Before young children have received their first Holy Communion, Eucharistic adoration is a great way to help them receive Jesus in their heart. Hopefully during the teen years they will find in Jesus a best friend by spending time with him.
This past school year students at all grade levels have spent time in our adoration chapel. They have been taught that this is a time to quietly sit in the presence of Jesus. Our fourth grade teacher integrated religion with a language arts lesson on persuasive writing. She asked students to create posters to encourage people to go to adoration. Their posters hung in the stairwell of our parish. Students said:
“Adoration will bring you closer to God and Jesus.”
“You always have time to go to Adoration — take time off your day.”
“Adoration feels like Jesus is hugging you!”
“You are alone with God in Adoration.”
“You should go to Adoration because Jesus is right there ready for you to pray, he loves you, and he never gets annoyed by how many times you pray.”
Adoration has been a gift for our students as well as for the adults.
We encourage parents to bring their children with them regularly for adoration. Ways to introduce this spiritual practice include choosing a holy hour where parents and children can pray in Jesus’ presence, making time either before or after school for a visit to the chapel, or arriving early for Mass to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle for a few minutes.
We need to remind children of the love that Jesus has for all. Once they realize they are spending time with Jesus, they truly enjoy adoration; it is their time with God. When we are with them, we receive this gift from God too.
Teresa Matetich is principal of St. Joseph’s School in Grand Rapids.